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Artist: Eishōsai Chōki (栄松斎長喜)

Print: Yosame Masaki: Night Rain (夜雨) at Masaki Shrine from the series 8 Famous Views of Edo (江戸名所八景)

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Dates: 1795,created
Dimensions: 7.75 in,10.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Choki (長喜)
Publisher: Takasu Sōshichi (Marks 517 - seal 25-203)

Related links: National Diet Library;

Physical description:

While researching this print the problems of orthography and translation are brought home to the non-Japanese reading/speaking person. 真崎 can be spelled 'Masaki' or 'Massaki'. Both exist as possible readings.

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Three different artists in the late 18th/early 19th centuries created an aerial view of the Masaki Inari Shrine in a slashing rainstorm while seen within an isolated roundel - Choki, Toyoharu and Hidemaro. While each of these is dramatic only the Choki is printed within a black ground.

The fact that this is an aerial view is quite interesting. Masaki lies along the banks of the Sumida River in a floodplain. There are no heights nearby that we are aware of. However, as in the case of the Choki print shown here it is as though the artist had found a location, high enough up, and used the increasingly popular Western telescope to study the place. Or, somehow he imagined it from a bird's eye point of view.

According to Mikhail Uspensky in his book on Hiroshige's 100 Views of Edo the Inari Shrine at Masaki was not a major attraction, but the restaurants and tea houses near by were. Nishiyama Matsunosuke echoes this sentiment when he lists the Kōshiya as one of the finest eateries during the Edo period.

Masaki was one of the many stops along the Sumida for people who were taking the leisurely trip up the river from the city to the New Yoshiwara district. Uspensky wrote:

"The 'green quarters' of Yoshiwara were one of the most important sights of the Eastern Capital. Those going to Yoshiwara took their time; the journey itself was an amusement and a pleasure. A stop at Massaki was almost a 'must'.

The Shinto shrine here was not especially esteemed in the capital and the tea-houses situated in front of the entrance were much more famous."

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"Because Inari shrines were often located near the pleasure quarters, humorous poems in the Edo period used 'worshiping at Massaki Inari' as a euphemism for spending the night in Yoshiwara..."

Quoted from: The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship, p. 136.